Before I go into this next post I want to provide a visual definition of the word stuck. Stuck– Adjective: unable to move, or set in a particular position, place, or way of thinking. Now please keep this definition in mind while we grow together! At least one point in our lives we get stuck, whether we know it or not. Stuck in a career that is draining our life force, a relationship that is hindering our emotional and physical being or in a toxic state of over analyzing the fear of “what if something bad happens..”. What if I told you the only thing that’s needed to get yourself unstuck is to look within? I know, I know, you’re all about to say, “Oh Brittany how could you be so clique!”. Honestly that’s the only way to do it! Look beneath the lies and fronts that you put on not only for the world around you but most importantly, the ones you put on for yourself. Our beautiful universe didn’t create our conciseness for us to think ourselves into being “stuck”, when in reality there’s bigger root cause lurking in the depths below. Now lets go fishing and hope we catch a big one!
“Becoming unstuck is about moving from constriction and frustration to flow vitality and ease. It’s about an internal stability that allows you to experience calm amid the storm, accept the “what is” of life so you’re not fighting against yourself. It’s about having the courage to make major changes without losing sight of the little things you can do each day to soothe, delight, and bring you home to yourself.”Charlotte Karl, Ph.D, “If the Buddha got stuck”
It takes a lot to start this journey, it entails going into uncharted territory, a very uneasy and frightening task to do. The easiest way for me was to look at a huge event that happened in my life, one that was extremely defective and made a huge impact. For the sake of time I will generalize these events into relationships, addiction and surprisingly, being stuck trying to get unstuck. To my surprise, no matter how different the situations were, they all shared the sameroot cause! Firstly, in all of my past relationships I blamed the other person for my unhappiness, all the harsh actions that arose from an argument and blamed them for ‘making’ me act and say things that weren’t rational. I was manipulative and knew that I was causing mayhem where mayhem was unwelcome. When I wasn’t in a committed relationship, the void/monster that the relationship filled became empty again. I filled that unoccupied space with my career and seeking attention from anyone that would give it. I was chasing and hiding from something at the same time. I spent many of years holding on to those experiences, twisting and lying to myself on who was really too ‘blame’. That when I starting asking myself, “why did the situation turn out like that?”, “could it have been handled in a more efficient way?”, “why did I feel like that?”, “was it truly the situation or was there something deeper down that made me act like that?”, and to my surprise there was.
In the great book, “If the Buddha got stuck”, it states that the cause of addiction isn’t because you are addicted to the product but because you addicted to masking the true problem. A coping mechanism that I chose were cigarettes and alcohol, well for the most part. I hid behind these for years and years! The drinking started in high school and as soon as I turned 18, that’s when the cigarettes came into play. The feeling of being alleviated of the stress was more than enough to get me hooked. They never disappointed me and they were always readily available. It wasn’t until 2018 that I quit both, cold turkey. I decided enough was enough, I had to choose between staying strong with my coping mechanism or choose to make a drastic change in my life, and I chose to make a change. That day I started to reel in the monster lurking below by stripping away its different masks. Imagine fishing on a lake, you get a monster bite and start to reel it in. The fish is fighting with all its force to keep itself hidden below but after a quick decision to keep reeling in, it starts to slowing give in and starts raising to the surface. As you keep reeling and pulling back those masks, there will be an army of feelings. A true emotional roller coaster. Let me just say, I still haven’t gotten off the roller coaster and know I’ll be staying on to ensure I’m continuing to grow. We all know, being fearful and uncomfortable, in certain situations, is you growing. Growth doesn’t come from being complacent.
“For a mind burdened with fear, with conformity, with the thinker, there can be no understanding of that which may be called the original.”J. Krishnamurti, “On Fear”
This last category is probably the most important and has made an immense impact on my life. I was stuck trying to get unstuck. Last year I made the decision to finally reel in the monster all the way to the boat, but there was still something that was holding me back from bringing it aboard. For those who know me, I am a very instant gratification type of person. I want results and I want them now. If those results don’t come within the time frame that I had planned in my head, everything goes into pure chaos. I became impatient with the progress that I was making, it was happening far too slow and I was barely seeing any results. The only result I experienced at the beginning of this journey was sadness, discouragement and guilt. I was trying to undo years and years of disarray, in a matter of months. That’s when I started to notice it, the monster was slowing fighting its way back away from the boat. This couldn’t happen. The one thing I took away from those long years was I was exceptionally resilient. No matter how bad I would reprimand myself, I knew deep down inside that I was stronger than those thoughts of unworthiness. That’s when the monster stopped fighting and started to swim effortlessly to the boat. I was shocked. If I thought positive affirmations to and about myself, instead of seeking it from other people, it was easier to pull the monster to the boat. Now getting it to the boat was hard enough, but to look at it face to face was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. In reality the monster that was lurking below, was me. My self-consciousness of my body imagine and lack of love for myself.
At a young age, Jr. High to be exact, is when I learned a very hard lesson, some people judge you as person based on what you look like rather than your true emotional nature. All it took were a few horrid words from another student to turn my whole life upside down. This was the first time I experienced judgement about my body, that I was too big. These words made me think that I was too big to ever be loved by anyone, too big to have friends and too big to make a change. It got to the point that I started bullying people to cover up my feelings of resentment and hurt. This monster grew and grew deep within me over the next few years, trying to get unstuck but in the wrong ways. Crash dieting, over exercising and it got to the point after high school I started binging. I carried the weight of what was said to me in Jr. High so deep down inside, that I started to ruin my body to get the results I wanted. The results started coming quicker than I expected (something I was always wanted). My desire to be accepted, loved and look a certain way based on the opinion of a child in junior school, who keep in mind had his own monsters to deal with, that was my root cause. It took me a while to reel this monster to the boat and I wasn’t about to make leaps and bounds backwards. I knew things needed to change, so in good Ol’ Brittany fashion, I winged it. So I stopped binging cold turkey because I knew that wasn’t the true problem it was just a side effect. I was ready to change and for real this time. Not a superficial change but a pure spiritual change, almost like a factory reset. I started to love myself and found ways to make myself happy again without having to depend on anyone else to do so. The only person I could rely on showing up day in and day out, was myself. I also started doing the little things that I never wanted to do, the “frivolous” tasks, making the bed, putting the clean dishes back from the dishwasher, folding the clean laundry sitting in the chair for days, reading books that challenged my mind and also started holding myself responsible for my actions/thoughts. I started giving myself positive affirmations and speaking to myself in less a detrimental and demeaning way. In doing so, this allowed me to stay focused on eradicating the monster lurking below and to truly give myself the love that I was looking for.
“I teach one thing and one thing only: Suffering and the end of suffering.”The Buddha
In reality I would like to sit here and tell everyone that it’s as easy as one, two, three, but it’s not. Everyone has different monsters and different experiences, but in the end, it’s you that decides whether or not to cut the line and let the monster free to continue to lurk below or to reel it in and erratic it no matter the difficulty and the time spent. You’ve already done the first step and that is to acknowledge there’s something lurking below. Now, I’d like to ask you, are you truly stuck?